The White House Without Email

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Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer recently tweeted the fact that has defined life in the White House this morning. Like democracy activists in Cairo, White House staff are without access to non-classified emails. “Verizon is working to solve the problem,” writes Pfeiffer on Twitter, which is just about the only way the communications office now has of communicating en masse to the outside world.

Denying email to the White House is on par with denying flour to a bread maker, or paint to a painter. Electronic messages between staff, with reporters, and interest groups is the very lifeblood of the West Wing. Verizon, apparently, controls the circulation system. Because of the Presidential Records Act, White House staff have been told not to use their personal Gmail accounts. So the only real outlet is the telephone and networks like Twitter. But only a few White House staff have been approved for official Twitter accounts, where tweets are logged for history. As Pfeiffer explained in another tweet, “Being one of the few WH officials on twitter right now has its advantages.”